This summer there has been much talk about fountains with the closures of many in Milan and Venice as an action to contrast the summer drought. Fortunately, the Milanese administration has stepped back and the fountains with a recirculating water system will continue to give some relief to citizens seeking shelter from the scorching heat.
In every newscast, article or blog that talks about high temperatures, the sequence of image shows always adults and children who regenerate and refresh themselves in a fountain, especially now that ground fountains are increasingly widespread.
So why we should close fountains if they are the only point of freshness in addition to the air conditioning in shopping malls?
The closure makes sense for that part, perhaps small, of fountains that does not yet have automatic management of the water load and therefore continuously disperse drinking water that overflows and goes into the black water, or into the sewer.
So the question raised is if the water in the fountains is always the same or if is it changed frequently, Gianluca Orazio from Forme d’Acqua has the answer:
“The water of the fountains is and must always be the same. If this is not the case, as still happens in some cases, the fountain must be technologically restored, because the manual water filling that gets lost or without control probably is the smallest problem, compared to the chemical and electrical safety problems that we often encounter in inspections.“
The modern fountains or the ones restored by professionals, have a water recirculation system that is continuously mechanically and chemically filtered, keeping it in perfect condition, without pollutants, without mosquito larvae, bacteria or other and by breaking down the carbonates, or the limestone and therefore preserving the coating materials, pumps and water features.
At this point it is explained why the water in the fountains is always the same: it is water that is kept healthy, clear, but beware that once it is in the fountain it is no longer drinkable, so it should not be drunk.
However, the water evaporates, which is why in summer fountains represent a point of social aggregation and cooling, the water in fact, to evaporate, subtracts heat from the environment, generating the cool, exactly as happens in misting systems. Evaporation, even if minimal, given the limited size of the Italian fountains, is detected by a rod level sensor and read by an electronic control unit that opens and closes an electric valve that introduces drinking water into the fountain when needed.
This system allows us to say that the fountains designed, built or renovated with modern criteria do not generate waste of water and should not worry public administrations, that should take care of scheduling a check of the state of their fountains and plan restoration or modernization. Some examples are historic fountains of Piazza Dante in Imperia or Piazza Brescia in Jesolo, where Forme d’Acqua has taken care not only of giving the cities a point of attraction, of beauty and freshness, but also of implementing the appropriate technology to ensure low water consumption through filtration and recirculation systems that are constantly monitored remotely through the My Fountain app, which also allows the reading of consumption data and notified in real time of any anomalies for a rapid intervention in case of losses.
In terms of water saving, it would be important to reflect on the state of public swimming pools and the management of the replenishment and disposal of water which must be daily carried out. That is, every day, every public swimming pool should throw away 5% of its water to put fresh water from the aqueduct. This is a considerable percentage of water, if we consider the volume of water that pools contain and also that not all of them have the same needs for replenishment.
Some considerations should therefore be made on the possible reuse of this water which in some virtuous examples is reused for flushing the toilets, or considering to make a derogation to the percentage of replenishment, perhaps by analyzing more the different parameters, but avoiding waste given the emergency in progress.
With this shared reflection, we now have clearer ideas on how a fountain works and on the fact that fountains do not waste water.